➔ British Airways Club Europe, A319, Heathrow – Frankfurt
➔ Frankfurt: City Guide
➔ LATAM Premium Business, B787, Frankfurt -Madrid
➔ AC Hotel, Cuzco, Madrid
➔ Iberia Premium Lounge Velázquez, T4S, Madrid
➔ Iberia Business Class, Airbus A350, Madrid – Heathrow
Normally when flying between London and Madrid, I’d take the British Airways 777 flight. However on this occasion, the Iberia flight was operated by their Airbus A350 instead of the A340. Having not flown Iberia Business Class on their A350 before, this was the flight that appealed to me the most!
Initially, I had intended on seeing a bit of Madrid. Although when it came to the day, I really couldn’t be bothered! Therefore, other than nipping out for some breakfast it was a relaxed morning in the hotel.
After I checked out, it was straight back to the airport.
As usual, I bypassed check in and made my way straight to the lounge, which was reviewed in the previous part of this report.
Madrid – London Heathrow
Airbus A359-900 EC-NDR
Boarding was advertised to start at 15:10, however it actually began at around 15:05. Just as I reached the gate actually. Perfect timing!
Although there was then a case of #boardingnotboarding going on for a good ten minutes while everyone waited in a stuffy jet bridge.
Once on board, I took my assigned seat of 6J. This was an aisle seat that I was allocated automatically. Despite giving it my best shot, I was unable to change to a true window seat. For a few days, I couldn’t even get the seat map to load on the Iberia website. Once I could, it turned out that there weren’t any window seats left anyway. I attempted the trick that I pulled on my previous flight however. This was to set up an alert on expertflyer for any available window seat. A few days before departure 2A did open up, so I logged on to the Royal Jordanian site to reserve it, and it seemed to hold. Although once online check in opened, I found myself back in my original 6J again. Oh well, I tried.
The seat itself was much the same as what’s found on Iberia’s A340 fleet. Complete with a distinct lack of storage.
Once boarding was completed, headphones were handed out.
Departure was delayed by more than a few minutes due to a few passengers not turning up. As they had checked bags, this meant we couldn’t go anywhere until they were found and offloaded. A flying time of 1h50 was given.
Pushback finally came 25 minutes later than planned.
Menus were handed out once we reached cruising altitude. If you’ve read my previous Iberia report, you’ll remember that I mentioned that Iberia hadn’t changed their menus in a good couple of years. This flight was no different! Both options I’d had on previous flights a couple of years back!
Shortly before the meal service, the purser welcomed me on board. Although I’m not sure it was anything personal – he seemed to be greeting everyone in the cabin. Either that, or everyone had status!
The meal service was finished with coffee. The presentation of this seemed to be a little better than usual.
The full range of IFE was available on this flight. The A350 features a slightly updated version compared to the A340. A lot like what’s featured on British Airways A350 in fact.
Around half way through the flight, the IFE cut out completely. Typical! The one time I find something to watch and the system fails half way through. Oh well. By the time it came back in again, it was too late to finish what I was watching. It wasn’t particularly good anyway, so I don’t feel like I missed out on too much.
WiFi was offered – again, it was much the same as what’s found on British Airways. Just with Iberia logos. No complimentary access was offered in business class though. Although you could argue that the 4mb that’s offered on the A340 flights is as good as nothing anyway!
Descent started much earlier than anticipated. In fact, by my calculations, the flight time would be just 1h40 as opposed to the 1h50 that was advertised at the start of the flight.
The captain mentioned that we would be landing on runway 27R at Heathrow, and that the weather was still very windy.
Arrival on to stand at T5C came a few minutes behind schedule, but nothing too major.
Iberia Business Class generally isn’t too bad, and this was probably one of the best flights I’ve had with them. The crew were great and extremely enthusiastic about their Airbus A350. Whilst not too different to what’s found on their Airbus A340, the seat itself had some minor improvements made.
As mentioned in the report itself though, the major downside is that Iberia just don’t seem to change their menus at all. Once more I’ve had this meal on a previous flight on this route. It must get extremely tedious for regulars!